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WIBU to tell the school I am no longer facilitating topic homework

(86 Posts)
Paperweightmover Wed 22-Nov-17 09:20:10

subtitled, talk me down from a paper mache ceiling.

Once a term DD gets a topic homework, they have to do research and build something -out of Twiglets- The class has an open hour and any parents that can bunk off work early go and see the finished masterpieces, the children tell the adults what they have learnt.

I find it all very stressful even though children are supposed to do the work un-aided. DD in Y4 has very little idea of how to do research and I don't see how I can give no support. So I fond appropriate web-sites, we talk about why they may or may not be a good source of material. She then spends hours making stuff out of toilet rolls.

She learns very little from this work, apart from how to glue structures together. This may be useful for STEM subjects but tells her little about ROmans or whatever.

Today I went into class to see all the unfacilited homework to see once again lots of "stuff" that can only have been made by parents. So, not only is DD not learning anything , she also feels let down as she hasn't created a life size sarcophagus or a representation of the Great Wall of China from lentils.

Would I be unreasonable to say to the school I am not playing anymore. I will be ignoring any project type homework in future. I will quite happily spend the time reading with her or teachinhg her the times tables the school also seem to expect we teach her.

Of to do some paid work so I can afford the copydex, but will be checking back in when I have calmed down.

irvineoneohone Wed 22-Nov-17 09:33:34

I think it's all up to you how you do it. My ds's school does lots of topic homework. It's normally open ended. So, it's up to kids how far they want to go and do.
I will do some research for him when I have time to find suitable website, etc. We will be informed by school prior so I suggest ds to borrow some books from library.
I will provide him with necessary stuff needed to do some craft work.
But that's it. it's all up to him how he wants to do everything, I don't really care if some other children's craft was made by their parents.
I find my ds's wonky work which he spent ages to make means more than perfect craft made by parents.

QuopQuop Wed 22-Nov-17 09:38:11


I just don't do it now, the final straw was when "me and DH" had to build Stonehenge and Taj Mahal! Took us 4 hours on a Sunday to do and the DC didn't really help except decorating after the structures were up!

Not playing anymore wink

QuopQuop Wed 22-Nov-17 09:40:33

Just too add.......

I don't like homework.

My DD once had " make a leaflet" in YEAR 2!!!!

It's just homework for the parents and I refuse to spend MY time with MY CHILDREN doing things like that

TeenTimesTwo Wed 22-Nov-17 09:40:41

We had a very lively debate about this recently on the Secondary board - which you may find interesting/terrifying/depressing <delete as applicable> smile

Valerrie Wed 22-Nov-17 09:42:58

I'm a teacher and this kind of homework is completely pointless, excludes the children who don't have the types of parents that will/can help with homework and they don't actually learn anything.

YANBU to refuse to do it.

StarUtopia Wed 22-Nov-17 09:43:01

I would definitely say something.

But you need to word it in the right way.

I started work in a school that did this every Easter holiday. To me, whilst the creations were amazing, they were clearly not made by the kids. So I stopped it and we did it in Art lessons in school.

I agree with you. The kids should be doing it and the kids should be learning from it.

MsGameandWatching Wed 22-Nov-17 09:44:30

We have a termly “project”, which I refer to as my project seeing as I am the one that comes up with the ideas, orders and pays for the materials and then does around 90% of the work. It really pisses me off. I have done more home and project work since my children started school than I ever did as an actual child in school! 😡

Butterymuffin Wed 22-Nov-17 09:49:09

YANBU. I think the school justify it by saying it's creative work for the kids though. Does your DD like anything crafty / creative, and you could say you're going to do that with her instead?

MrsHathaway Wed 22-Nov-17 09:50:31

My DC's school has stopped this kind of homework altogether as the result of surveying parents on what they thought about homework in general. We now just have the kind of genuine consolidation work which has an evidence base (e.g. spellings, times tables) and reading. It's "just read" over holidays.

I guarantee that the reason your school does this bullshit is because they think the parents like it, and it sounds as though there are several who do. They could manage that better by having it as completely optional charity project (e.g. design a castle, £1 to enter, all proceeds to PTA).

irvineoneohone Wed 22-Nov-17 09:53:54

MsGame, but if you let it go and your dc do the work as they can/want, it won't be 90% your work. I'd say about 10/20% my work 90/80% dc in my view.

But still, I do find crafty homework pointless, big time.

eddiemairswife Wed 22-Nov-17 10:23:18

It's not just parents who are fed up. I used to dread my daughter saying, "Can you have Tiny Eddie on Saturday? He's got his project to do, and I know you've got plenty of stuff about Romans, Egyptians, Volcanoes........". Thankfully Tiny Eddie is at University and no longer needs my assistance.

MsGameandWatching Wed 22-Nov-17 10:32:03

I can’t irvine dd has autism and homework really stresses her out. School work should only happen in school you see, Home is Home, school is school and at the end of primary we are still no closer to getting her to assimilate the two as she finds it all so stressful. Yet if she doesn’t come up with the goods homework/project wise then she will be sanctioned at school not to mention the fact that she cannot tolerate being singled out at school, which not presenting a project would do...and on and on we go.

SugarMiceInTheRain Wed 22-Nov-17 10:37:56

I hate this sort of homework. I am quite creative but have to do most of my work in the afternoons/ evenings and haven't got the inclination to spend the small amount of free time I have with the children each night building structures which will teach them very little.

I remember when DS1 did about pirates in KS1 and when I went in to help out in class that week, the topic work the 'children' had done at home was displayed, including a pirate ship big enough to hold 4 children, built out of wood that one of the class had made. hmm Yeah, ok.

glitterbiscuits Wed 22-Nov-17 10:50:25

Hello No! Make a stand on behalf of us all. It’s pointless.

BubblesBuddy Wed 22-Nov-17 10:56:54

I think this type of homework is outdated. It is far too much geared towards parents. Making something should be optional.

However, homework that helps reinforce maths and English and reading can be helpful and research skills can be jogged along by parents and of course this skill will be used in the future so it’s not wasted time. For a child with Sen, there has to be negotiation with the school on what homework is set.

I would try and take him to the library to find books on the topic and teach him how to look up info on the internet to enhance his learning about the topic. Instead of playing the craft game, could he draw something and write about it? Write a poem? Pretend he is a person living at the time if it’s a history project? How was Stonehenge built? You don’t need to make Stonehenge to think about how it was built, the people who built it and why they may have built it. Look at the height and weight of the stones for Maths. There are things he could learn and enjoy from projects without making something and it cuts out the competitive parenting. Most schools set projects that are very flexible so start being creative in a way that suits your DS. Some children will find it difficult to be the one that has done nothing because they will feel stupid.

Seeline Wed 22-Nov-17 10:57:42

I feel your pain. My DCs primary had something like this EVERY WEEK!! We never had a maths sheet to complete or a reading comprehension. No. Every bloody week it was make a model of a mountain, design a leaflet, imagine what Mole's house looked like and make it, design and make a board game to help learn tables/the time/make your parents demented, make a robot..... It was endless.
However, making model cells and joints at secondary have been a doddle.

oinon Wed 22-Nov-17 11:06:38

YANBU I also refused to do this homework, at our school it's called shared learning and parents, grandparents etc are all meant to get involved.

Every term I see face book full of parents staying up to all hours can completing and competing with their masterpieces... the kids don't get a look in

Who bloody cares if they can make a roman shield, I'm more concerned that they are years behind in their maths and English

DubiousCredentials Wed 22-Nov-17 11:13:55

I would get dc to draw a picture of a pyramid/stone age man/mount everest/whatever and colour it in and leave it at that. It’s beyond pointless.

MerryMarigold Wed 22-Nov-17 11:15:36

I'm going to go against the grain and say it's nice. I think adults and interacting with children is dying a death in many many households and these kinds of things 'force' it to happen. Maybe it's annoying to you because you do all sorts of other things together, Well, maybe that week you can forgo the 'other things' and do this thing. For other kids, it will be the once a month they spend some time creating something with their parents. And they will learn something along the way. To me, it is more valuable than doing maths homework online. Even if it is annoying. Also, tell your dd that the others have probably been made exclusively by parents/ adults, but yours has been a joint effort and you enjoyed doing it with her. She'll be fine about it.

MerryMarigold Wed 22-Nov-17 11:18:12

Ds1 just had a homework where he had to interview my Dad about his parents. It was brilliant. My Dad was chuffed. I am not sure what he learned that was of historical or educational value, but he learned about his family and he had a good chat with his Grandad which would not have happened otherwise. Not everything in education has to be about getting an A grade or passing a SAT, although sadly schools are more going down that route.

Paperweightmover Wed 22-Nov-17 11:18:30

Irvine I suppose that would be topic homework on a good day, but it's never a good day in our house. By the time I have explained that you shouldn't copy and paste a fact from the internet, and DD says that's the fact she wants, and Miss would let her and the bloodbath ensues...

Tween I think I saw that thread and felt I had some kindred spirits. depresses me though as I thought all this child centred learning rowlocks ended at primary level and I only had two more years to go.

DH says just leave it, don't die on this particular hill.

So what could I say that would be uesful? Rather than stuff your projects? The teacher is just doing what she is told to do, there is a homework schedule thingy that the school creates, so I guess it's the SMTs idea?

I don;t want to be the one to have to teach my child research skills, although I could. I don''t want to be the one as whatever I say I get told "but Miss said we do it this way". This is why bloody first year undergrads don't have a blooming clue.

There is a very interesting blog post by the history teacher Heather F who talks more eloquently than me about children pretending to be a person in history, I will try and find it. It basically says that the child has no hope if the adult hasn't taught them the facts in the first place.

Maybe I should send my DD to your house to do the homeworkeddie ? Yes?

Flowershower Wed 22-Nov-17 11:19:49

YANBU!!! I hate this kind of homework for parents that becomes a horrible competition between the kids, teaches them very little and takes parental time and usually a fair amount of money too. By contrast the best school project my DD has had was to write a holiday diary - not a photo diary, but had to write a few sentences every day - entirely done on her own, and helped loads with her writing and spelling.

celticmissey Wed 22-Nov-17 11:19:50

Yep you're not being unreasonable. I was sick of encouraging my child to make the umpteenth model for her homework. After 5 minutes she'd get bored and wander off. So it was a standard joke amongst parents as to what model we parents had to make next for "our" homework. The school eventually realised it didnt particularly teach children anything - once you can glue and stick you've learnt that skill.... Now homework is learning times tables, the usual............. thank goodness. I know some parents in other primary schools whose children were given ridiculous homework and told the school their chidlren would not be completing it.

Paperweightmover Wed 22-Nov-17 11:24:31

I didn't enjoy doing it with her, I wanted to go swimming with her and I didn't do it with her anyway.

She wanted to build a pyramid and I tried to help but she started to cry when I got the ruler and protractor out and started talking trig, So she made something out of toilet rolls. She does know now that one of the Egyptian gods was married to his sister so we discussed Queen Victoria and the European Royals and genetic problems.

Thanks for being on my side, what do I get if I take one for the team?

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